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After reading the Chauga article in Wikipedia then read the Tugaloo article

The deceptive changes in wiki-authored articles on Southeastern archaeology are clearly illustrated by Wikipedia’s Chauga and Tugaloo articles. The anonymous authors use one altered article later to fudge another article.

An ancient town on an island in the Tugaloo River is now called Tugaloo, but its pre-1700 AD name was probably Ustanauli, and if so, was visited by an officer of Fort Caroline in 1564.   Whatever its name, this town with 8 large mounds probably functioned as a regional capital for many centuries.  It was occupied continuously from around 800 AD until around 1700 AD when it was sacked.  A short time later, a small hamlet named Tugaloo was established in the south corner of the island.  It lasted until 1776, when it was burned by American troops.

Tugaloo was 9.8 miles up the Tugaloo River from Chauga.  When excavated thoroughly by archaeologist Joseph Caldwell in 1957 and 1958,  it was found to contain the same proto-Creek artifacts as Chauga.  These pottery styles are known as Swift Creek, Woodstock, Etowah I, Etowah II and Lamar.  The island had originally been settled as early as 1000 BC by people making Dunlop and later, Deptford style pottery, followed by Swift Creek style pottery.

The village appeared to be abandoned for some time and then was reoccupied around 800 AD by people making what he called “Late Swift Creek” style pottery,  at a time when the Swift Creek Culture had disappeared from the rest of the Southeast.   The town was continuously occupied from then on, and major mound building activities ensued.  In this period, Etowah I, Etowah II and Lamar style pottery was made.  Caldwell also noted the distinct change in the style of artifacts between the Etowah and Lamar Periods, but there was no evidence that the town had ever been abandoned.

Tugaloo marked one of the first or the first use of radiocarbon dating in the Southeast.   Caldwell noticed a band of charcoal and debris above the last evidence of Lamar Culture artifacts.  He dated the sacking and burning of Tugaloo at no earlier than 1700 AD.  His archaeological report summarized his findings by saying that Tugaloo had been occupied by ancestors of the Creek Indians until at least 1700 AD.  A small section at the southern end of the island had subsequently been settled by a hamlet composed of small, crude round huts.

Caldwell said that these small huts were probably built by Cherokee Indians, but there was no evidence of them making use of the mounds.

In 1737, the Rev. John Wesley, Georgia’s Colonial Secretary and future founder of the Methodist Church, was more specific.  He wrote that Tugaloo was a small Uchee hamlet containing no more than about 40 men.  All 17th century colonial maps until after 1754, label the region around Tugaloo as Hogeloge, i.e. Tennessee Uchee.

Detail of 1721 map of the Southeast by Colonel John Barnwell

Detail of 1721 map of the Southeast by Colonel John Barnwell


Now read the Wikipedia article on Tugaloo.  It was originally much more similar to Caldwell’s actual report, but was altered in 2012.

It get’s worse

In the latter half of 2012, multiple web pages were created for  major archaeological sites in the lower Southeast that claim to be authored by “professional archaeologists”, but no names are provided.   The majority of archaeological sites discussed are in the vicinity of the Track Rock Terrace Complex, and the articles repeatedly refer to events associated with the Maya Myth Busting Campaign,  so there must be a connection.

Keep in mind that the authors of these web pages may have no professional credentials in archaeology.  Their writing style is more typical of college freshmen or sophomores.

The “professional archaeologists” version states that Tugaloo was one of the largest and important Cherokee towns and that it served as a principal town for Cherokees in North Georgia for centuries.  The article further states that the Cherokees began building the mounds at Tugaloo around 1450 AD and constructed large temples on top of the mounds.   Incredibly, the article cites the archaeological reports by Arthur Kelly and Joseph Kelly on Chauga and Tugaloo as the references for these statements.   Must be sophomores!

As I said in the previous article,  it is always better to read the original archaeological reports rather than rely on anonymous web-based articles.

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

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